Family and friends of a California chemistry teacher are desperately appealing to the public to help raise money to pay for his hospital bill in Guatemala so that he can come home to recover from a devastating neck injury.
Alex Austin, 28, had been vacationing with friends over the holidays when he dove into the ocean and suffered traumatic injuries.
“I think he just didn’t realize how shallow the water was,” Roxanne Austin, the man’s sister, told Fox 40.
The incident reportedly left him with two fractured vertebrae and a pinched spinal cord.
According to his GoFundMe page, Austin’s friends pulled him out of the water and he slowly “began regaining feeling over our 5-hour journey to the best hospital in Guatemala.”
Roxanne Austin claims the hospital won’t release her brother until he pays for the hospital bill in full, but that his spirits have remained high.
“His friend that’s there now in the hospital says he was cracking jokes, the first thing he said out of surgery, before falling asleep,” she told Fox 40. “My brother is such a survivor and he’s so strong.”
The GoFundMe page has raised more than $19,000 of its $25,000 goal.
“He would never ask for help, but right now is when he needs it the most,” the GoFundMe page said.